In 1959, a more stretchable and durable ink, called plastisol was invented, which allowed more styles and variety in T-shirt designs and T-shirt printing. During the 1960s, screen-printing and tie-dyeing on basic Tshirts caught on and became a huge success. The commonest form of decorating commercial Tshirts is screen-printing. Screen-printing involves separating a design into individual colors. Plastisol or other water-based inks are then applied to the Tshirt through special screens, which limit the area where the ink is applied and deposited. In all commercial T-shirt printing, specific colors in the design to be printed are used. Few companies continue to use the water-based inks on the printed Tshirts that they supply. Most companies manufacturing Tshirts and providing Tshirt printing facilities prefer using plastisol because it can be used on varying colors without needing to make color adjustments at the art level.
T-shirt printing companies keep up with the trends, fashion, and demands and use Specialty inks, which include puff, shimmer, discharge, and chino, based inks. Metallic foils too can be stamped and heat pressed on plastisol ink. When this is combined with the specialty shimmer ink, the metallics provide a mirror effect wherever the screen-printed plastisol ink had been applied. As these specialty inks are quiet expensive they are used more on garments available in boutiques. Some other methods of decoration, which is used in Tshirt printing include airbrush, embroidery, applique, embossing or impressing, and ironing on of flock lettering and heat transfers.
In the late 1980s and 1990s, Tshirts with logos of prominent designers became popular, especially with teens and young adults. With these Tshirts, consumers could flaunt their liking for particular designer brands in a very inexpensive way. Some designer Tshirt brands include Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, FUBU, and The Gap. Major consumer product companies like Coca-cola have used printed Tshirts and Tshirt printing for product advertising since the 70s. Since 1990s, companies of all sizes prefer Tshirts with their corporate logo and message as a part of their advertising campaign.
By the end of the last century, designing of custom T-shirts on a Tshirt companies website became very popular. Many Tshirt companies with websites started using digital printing such as DTG printing or Direct to Garment printing, allowing customers to design Tshirts online without the compulsion of having to place a minimum order for T-shirt printing. Customers can place an order for even one custom design. Customers can even select branded Tshirts and get their custom design printed on the Tshirt. They can not only select the brand, style, color, and size, but also the printing method with features like Foil, Metallic, Glitter, and Vinyl. Some companies even provide free graphic designing for orders of 50+ t-shirts, making it a win-win situation for even a small company.
By Clint Jhonson